Career Best Week
While 250SX East Region points leader Colt Nichols claimed two of the three main event wins and totaled the most points over rounds four, five, and six (Nichols earned 73 points to Christian Craig’s 67 and Jo Shimoda’s 63 points), many riders also have some finishes to brag about. We’ll start with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda. Shimoda finished third then fourth in the first two Indianapolis races and then grabbed a second-place finish in the 250SX main event—his second career SX podium. Shimoda said he felt he earned this podium, compared to the third place he says he lucked into at Indy 1 (after Christian Craig and Jett Lawrence tangled with one another two turns from the finish line to bump Shimoda up two spots right at the checkered flag). Shimoda’s been steadily improving since his debut in supercross in 2020 and his second place became the best finish in by a Japanese rider in an AMA Supercross main event, besting Akira Narita’s third in the 2005 Anaheim 1 125SX West main event.
Best finish ever by a Japanese rider in a main event for Jo Shimoda. Akira Narita finished 3rd in the 125cc Main Event at A1 in 2005— Kellen Brauer (@kellenbrauer) February 7, 2021
|Temecula, CA||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Jo Shimoda||Suzuka||Kawasaki KX250|
|3||Colt Nichols||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250F|
|Alvord, TX||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Jett Lawrence||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
With injuries impacting the 250SX East Region field, several privateer riders have earned career best finishes over the three races at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here are some of the riders who claimed (or tied) a career best.
Career Bests At Rounds 4, 5, and 6
Before Indy 3, Nichols visited the Raceday Live show via a Zoom interview and joked that, if he could sweep all three mains, he could consider the home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts to be “Colt’s Stadium.” It looked good for a while, but he crashed the lead away early in the main. Check out The Moment feature for more on his crash and comeback. With 1-1-3 finishes, Nichols was still the best of the 250SX bunch in Indy over three rounds.
For the fourth time since entering the premier class full-time, Ken Roczen became the first rider to two wins on the season. Roczen then claimed his third straight main event to sweep the Indianapolis rounds. This was the first time in Roczen’s career he has earned three straight 450SX main event wins. Roczen now has a 16-point advantage in the standings over second place Cooper Webb. Check out this cool note from Clinton Fowler on how Roczen’s chances of being the champion increased after he became the first rider to two wins—and then how they increased again once he became the first to three wins (Seriously, if you’re a moto nerd and you’re not following him on Twitter and Instagram it’s your loss!).
Shout-out to Malcolm Stewart for his fourth place in the 450SX main event, which ties his career best (he earned fourth at the 2020 Salt Lake City 7 Supercross finale). Check out his post below to see what happened to him near the end of his heat race. Stewart rebounded from his get-off to take his second top-five main event finish of the season as he continues to build on his best 450SX season start to a date.
Quotes From Around the Paddock
Ken Roczen | 1st in 450SX
“Indianapolis 3 was a fantastic night. We started off in practice with a little bit of a struggle—just not really getting along with the track very well. I felt fine out there, but I simply wasn't fast enough. We went into the night show though, and I knew that I was a better racer and that we were going to get a good result. After that we took the heat-race win and were able to get a good gate pick for the main event; sure enough, I got a really good start. Along the way, I came in contact with Justin Barcia, who hit me pretty hard and bent my shifter a bit; I wasn’t able to shift until like half a lap later. I held my lines and focused as much as I could and we did the three-peat, taking home another win on a track that wasn’t really my favorite. Those kinds of nights are when you get another step closer to a championship run, and it was really important for us to get more points and be gaining instead of losing. I’m so happy to finish all three Indianapolis main events in first, as I've never gone three in a row. This is huge for me and the team, and I'm looking to continue this streak when we come back next weekend in Orlando.”
Said Honda HRC team manager Erik Kehoe:
“The team did a great job finishing off the Indy trip. Ken was very impressive, meeting his goals to get good starts, ride consistently and be on the podium. He wasn’t feeling his groove earlier in the day, but his confidence and consistent good starts put him in a good position to dig deep and pull through for an amazing win!”
Cooper Webb | 2nd in 450SX
“It was a great day, a step in the right direction. I had good qualifying times and just came up short on the Main Event. It was a hard charge, so close but so far. Ken rode great and adjusted to the race as it went. I felt like I charged hard at the end and got close, but just not enough. I missed the rhythm with two to go and that kind of killed it for me but he rode a great race and beat me straight up, so we will go this week and try to get better. We made a huge step today with bike setup and comfort, so I feel like I am right there. It’s a long series so we will keep fighting every weekend and get back to that top spot soon.”
Marvin Musquin | 3rd in 450SX
“My goal tonight was to stay on two wheels and be patient. The last two or three rounds it’s been super frustrating for me, I’ve been very aggressive trying to make it happen in the first lap and ended up going down, so tonight I wanted to be patient. I was the fifth best guy tonight but it’s racing and the two guys in front of me went down so I got third. It definitely feels good to be on the podium, I’ll take it.”
Malcolm Stewart | 4th in 450SX
“It was typical Indy, where you’re going into corners, and you think it’s there and it’s not. Overall I feel really good about how the night turned around for me. Indy has treated me well. I had a lot of great rides, and I rode well all day today. We just struggled a little bit in the first two (rounds). In the Main Event, I told myself, ‘Bro, you have got to get a top-five in this thing no matter what, because the boss man isn’t going to be happy. I might be finding myself doing it on my own if I don’t put the results in.’
“We put a lot of work into this. It sucks if you don’t get the results you want, but that’s part of racing. You live, you learn, and you keep moving forward. I definitely learned a lot. We’re going to keep working and do our homework. The team has never given up. I feel like every race we’re learning. I’m very thankful that I’ve got a great team with me. So far, the changes that we’ve made have gone in the right direction. We’ll be going for it in Orlando, my hometown race back in Florida. Let’s just go have some fun.”
Adam Cianciarulo | 5th in 450SX
“My KX450 was hooking up great all day. I know my speed is there and the bike is working great, I just need to work a little harder on some different areas of my fitness and I know I can be up there with the top-3 riders. Tonight didn’t go as planned but we got another solid result and I’m happy about that. Time to reset and get ready for next weekend.”
Jason Anderson | 6th in 450SX
“My night went decent, I was just pumped to be able to do enough therapy on my finger to be able to race tonight. I had a better heat, which made myself feel a little bit better and we did some suspension work. In the main, I didn’t get that great of a start but I was able to get better and move through the pack. I’m slowly getting better but not where we want to be, so we’ll get there.”
Eli Tomac | 7th in 450SX
“I’m definitely a bit disappointed with how tonight went. I was feeling great on my KX450 and got a great start in my heat race, which helped me stay close to the leader for the entire race. In the main, I didn’t get the best jump and that hurt me. The field this year is stacked with talent and having to work my way from the middle of the pack up to third isn’t easy. It’s unfortunate to have a podium taken away from me because of someone else’s mistake, but with a good start I can avoid all that. I know what I need to work on this week to be fully prepared for the next round.”
Dylan Ferrandis | 8th in 450SX
“It was a frustrating night for me. I felt that I could do better than eighth. I made a mistake by jumping off the track and missed a good opportunity. It’s time to get back to work and get ready for Orlando 1.”
Joey Savatgy | 9th in 450SX
“It was a good night. My starts are there and I have the speed to battle up front. We are still moving in the right direction and continue to build. We will take this week to regroup and come back ready for the Orlando rounds.”
Zach Osborne | 10th in 450SX
“It was a little bit of a tough night. I didn’t get a start in the main and it wasn’t one of my best rides of the season. Back to the drawing board this week, I have a few things I would like to really work on and focus on to be better for next weekend in Orlando.”
Aaron Plessinger | 11th in 450SX
“I struggled today. The track was gnarly. It was hard on the base and slick around the corners. It was technical and took a lot of energy to ride. It was rough and rutted, so it was a tough one. I had the 14th gate pick for the main event and took a risk, and lined up all the way inside. I ended up not getting the jump off the gate, and it was a struggle from there. I did what I could. Dylan and I battled for a little bit, and I kind of just settled in where I was. We’re going to go back to work and keep trying to do better. We can take some positives out of today. I had good speed, and we made improvements to the bike. We’ll come back with a vengeance at Orlando.”
Broc Tickle | 13th in 450SX
"I'm stoked on the progress that we made in Indianapolis. This class is stacked, and it's important to stay focused only on the things that we need to. That's our goal for the Orlando races and reach the halfway point of the championship. I know what I need to work on, so a little bit of improvement in different areas can lead to a big gain."
Vince Friese | 14th in 450SX
"It was not a great weekend for me, but I'm heading in the right direction and am continuing to recover from the pain and swelling from the crash I had in Houston. I had a battle with Justin Brayton and my teammate Broc in the Main Event. Justin Barcia came up behind me, and there was that incident, which was really unfortunate. I felt that I held my line because the triple was not a place where you wanted to change your line at the last second. I was planning to get out of the way; I had just gotten out of the way for Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, but it was the line I had taken all night long. I hate to be a part of this. I'm going to keep improving and keep healing up."
Justin Barcia | 19th in 450SX
“The day was going good, I had my best qualifying position with fifth and I felt like we got the bike working really well and I felt really comfortable out there. The Main Event was going good, I was battling for the podium and unfortunately had a lapper come across on me and take me out and that’s pretty much how the night ended. It’s pretty disappointing but onto the next one.”
Benny Bloss | 22nd in 450SX
"The last race in Indianapolis was a struggle for me. I couldn't find a flow all day, and issues in the main event kept me from finishing the race. We'll work this week to get it sorted out and will be ready for the next race!"
Christian Craig | 1st in 250SX
“The day started off crazy. I just felt off all day and then had a mishap in one of the practices and couldn’t get my bike started. I had to miss a whole qualifying session. So that kind of set the tone for the whole day. I just kept my head clear and had a decent heat race. I went into the Main Event confident in my ability to do it. Colt made a mistake early on. I was able to capitalize on it and get away early to break away with a nice gap and then ride my own race. It felt good to get another win and to end this Indy series on a high note before moving on to Orlando.”
Said Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing team manager Wil Hahn:
“It was a great rebound night for Christian. After his day went, missing that practice session, to come back to win the main event is awesome.”
Jo Shimoda |2nd in 250SX
“This podium feels really good. My KX250 was a rocket out the gate and helped me move into second place after a couple laps. Once I was there, the only thing on my mind was not letting anyone get past. The track was rough tonight and a lot of riders made mistakes, but I controlled what I could and earned this one.”
Colt Nichols | 3rd in 250SX
“There’s not really much to say, I guess. It started out about as good as it could, though. I got a great start and was in the lead. I don’t even know what happened, to be honest. I just came out of that turn, and all of a sudden, I was on the face of the tabletop looking backward. It was just a big mistake. I can’t really give that away, but that’s racing. That’s why we line up. It’s frustrating for sure because I felt like I was on it today, and I did everything right after that point. It’s all right, though. We’ll regroup. I dug down deep all the way to the finish. I kept fighting and came back to third, so I’m happy with that. I just can’t make those silly mistakes. I’m looking for some redemption in seven days. We’ll try again.”
“Then to see Colt go down early in the main and face that adversity correctly, it was a great ride tonight. He just kept his head down the whole time and was able to still finish on the podium. I’m really proud of our guys and our team.”
Jett Lawrence | 5th in 250SX
“I was managing my injury all day, but I’m glad that my shoulder was good enough that I was able to ride. It wasn’t what I was hoping for in terms of results in the main event, but it felt good to be racing and to get a heat-race win, even if I wasn’t 100 percent. Now we get a full week before Orlando, and I’m looking forward to coming back and getting back on top.”
“Jett pushed through the soreness of a banged-up shoulder from the last event to gain valuable points. He showed impressive speed, qualifying second and winning his heat, but a poor start and mistakes in the main event hindered his chances to finish on the podium.”
“I made a stupid move at the end of the last practice and I seem to have broken my hand in three places. I qualified third was riding great, looking to get my first win here tonight but looks like it’s going to need surgery so we’re going to do the work necessary and be back out there to battle with the guys. I’m super bummed and disappointed. Thanks to everyone sticking behind me and supporting me, we will be back.”
Following the race, Barcia posted the following:
Friese was on the PulpMX Show on Monday night to explain the incident with Barcia from his perspective.
Watch the incident below in the Indianapolis 3 Supercross video breakdown:
Malcolm Stewart’s 450SX heat race highlights:
Malcolm Stewart’s 450SX main event highlights:
Adam Cianciarulo's 450SX main event highlights:
Clip of the Week
Lawrence and Nichols
Another look at it.